Speech, Crime, and Hate

What is hate speech? What is a hate crime? Why do we need laws governing either? If we have free speech in this country then people should be allowed to say hateful things with legal impunity. Legal impunity, but not societal impunity for no speech is without consequence but that consequence should not be administered by government. Once you have established the precedent for government to punish “hate speech” then you have allowed government to define hate speech and in doing so lost your ability to say things the government might not want you to say. By allowing hate speech laws we have given up our right to true free speech. Once again we have replaced the logic of common sense with the emotion of feelings. Government should not be based on emotion.

If a person commits a crime why do we want to punish the motive rather than the crime. Assault is assault regardless of why the crime is committed and should be punished as assault. How is assault against someone made different because of the motive? If a person is assaulted because they have a different sexual preference or because they said something you found hateful what is the difference from any other assault? Once again, this simply injects emotion into the legal system and such emotion generates even more emotion and in the end juries make rulings based on the emotion that can be generated during a case by the prosecution or defense. It makes no logical sense to have laws that stiffen penalties because of the reason for the crime since it is the crime itself that should be punished.

So why do we have hate speech and hate crime statutes? Simply put the answer is, Politics. I could go on explaining the hypocrisy of those who demand these statutes. They are the same people who oppose the societal right to execute someone while demanding the right of a sixteen year old to terminate the life of a fetus. They are the same people who believe their truth is the only truth and if you do not agree with them you must be reeducated. They are the people who demand you follow science but if the science is in conflict with their political goals then the science must be wrong.

We do not need hate speech statutes nor do we need hate crime statutes because the invoking of these laws in criminal cases only further increases the racial, ethnic and religious divides that are rending the fabric of our society. Hate is an emotion, and you cannot abolish that emotion by legislation and prison sentences. As an emotion, hate is intrinsic to human nature, Cain hated Abel and was jealous of him. Should his punishment have been any greater because of the emotion of his crime. Murder is murder. We already have degrees of murder. If he planned to do it and lured Cain to a spot where he could hit him on the head with a rock, that’s first degree murder. If he did it in the emotion of the moment that’s second degree murder. If he and Abel fought and he picked up a rock and hit Abel in the head that’s first degree manslaughter. Why then would we need any further elucidation on the matter? What has happened to common sense in our judicial system?

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